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More Tri-State Universities Bringing Back Mask Requirements

miami university
Courtesy of Miami University

Xavier University is the latest area university to update its masking policy as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to rage. Xavier says starting Monday, Aug. 9, everyone will be required to wear a face covering on campus whether vaccinated or not.

Earlham College, meanwhile, took it one step further: In addition to requiring masks in indoor spaces, the Indiana university required students and staff be fully vaccinated before the start of the school year.

In early August, Miami University also announced starting Monday, Aug. 9, face coverings will be required indoors regardless of vaccination status. Cincinnati State made a similar announcement that became effective Aug. 4. Both follow similar moves from the University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and Ohio State.

The schools' mandates follow updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people who are fully vaccinated should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging.

Miami says people don't have to wear masks while working alone in their offices with doors closed, or while students are in their residence hall rooms.

"Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our campus community," says Miami President Gregory Crawford in a statement. "Public health officials have advised us that the safest course of action for the successful completion of a robust, in-person semester is to take preventative actions now."

Cincinnati State is following similar protocols, and also advises masking up in campus parking garages.

"COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly effective," the school writes in a statement on its website. "If you have not yet gotten a vaccine, we urge you to do so. The more of us who are vaccinated, the sooner we can return to a fully mask-less environment, and in the meantime save lives."

University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto announced UC's requirement Tuesday, just hours after Northern Kentucky University said it would require masks indoors this fall.

NKU's mandate took effect Wednesday. UC's started Thursday. Mandates apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

Several universities are offering incentives like prizes, cash, and extra vacation days to encourage students and staff to get vaccinated.

Updated: August 6, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
Updated to include Xavier University's and Earlham College's updated COVID-19 policies.
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.